Oct. 2 (UPI) — Over 600 marches took place Saturday across the United States over fear of losing reproductive freedoms in the aftermath of Texas’ abortion ban.
The Texas bill banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which doctors say can been as soon as six weeks after conception, took effect last month. Activists fear other states will implement their own version of one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
“We don’t say this lightly: We’re at grave risk of losing our reproductive freedoms,” the Women’s March account tweeted. “All of us need to fight back. That’s why on October 2, we’re marching in every state.”
The New Orleans brass band the Soul Rebels and singer-songwriter Adeline performed at Freedom Plaza to energize the crowd ahead of the march.
Latina comedian and activist Cristela Alonzo hosted the rally at Freedom Plaza, along with other speakers across the coalition for abortion justice.
Some other speakers slated to give remarks at the D.C. rally included actress and activist Busy Philipps, known for her role in Dawson’s Creek, and transgender swimmer and advocate for other trans athletes, Schuyler Bailar, according to the Women’s March website.
The Women’s March, which also protested the 2017 inauguration of President Donald Trump after his remarks on a 2005 Access Hollywood tape about “grabbing” women’s genitals and other offensive remarks, is organizing the marches. More than 90 groups were also involved, including Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive healthcare, and the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization, CNN noted.
The National Parks Service confirmed to CNN that organizers applied for a permit for 10,000 in Washington, much smaller than the 2017 Women’s March against Trump’s inauguration, which drew more than 450,000 people to the capital.
The Women’s March website said “everyone is required to wear a mask and practice social distancing” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged anyone feeling ill to attend virtual events instead.
A sister rally in Houston announced that Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons of “Top Chef,” Shareenduh Tate, executive director of George Floyd Foundation, and Sabrina Greenlee, a community activist, author and domestic violence survivor, would participate, along with local leaders.
Counterprotests were also planned, including a D.C. group called “Take Feminism Back,” which hosted an event to “counter pre-born violence” in Wisconsin’s capital city Madison, CNN reported.